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Back issues - check back tomorrow.
Huge dinner at Ruth’s Chris with Jane and Alex. Then, straight to bed. Sorry, too stuffed to blog.
The scheduling in the CCAA (the Division II league our son and his CSU Monterey Bay Otters are in) is such that the schools are paired so, except for your travel partner, teams play Friday and Saturday. This cuts down on missed class time and finances. This travel set up reminds me of the old Pac-8 back in my grad assistant days at Washington State and Oregon. The one trip that couldn’t be on the Fri-Sat format was Washington-WSU. That was Thursday-Sat.
No matter how the CCAA teams are split, there is always going to be at least one inconvenience. The powers that be in the conference paired Humboldt State and Cal Poly Pomona (10 driving hours apart). The teams fly. The parents - who don’t have anything better to do, e.g. work, drive. My back started acting up when I saw the schedule. The good thing about being retired is your schedule is very flexible. Thus, we’re taking two days to go to each game.
All that was just to tell you readers there won’t be another blog until next Tuesday.
A month or so ago I heard Jay Williams, formerly of Duke and current ESPN studio analyst, comment on the a story about Colin Kaepernick. Williams was upset that someone referred to Kaepernick’s tattoos, claiming the remarks were racially motivated. How would that explain Chris “The Birdman” Anderson?
Williams then told a personal story of the time he had just met a man and they struck up a conversation. After a while the stranger said to Williams, “Wow, you’re really intelligent for an athlete.” This insulted Williams to no end. “Oh, what, should I be stupid?” was the thought that flashed through his mind. It was easy to tell how upset he was with the encounter.
His story reminded me of one of my own, back in the mid-60s. Our football team was a mixture of ethnic backgrounds, e.g. our right tackle was Italian, left tackle was Irish, center Polish, left end English, quarterback Hungarian, left halfback black, right halfback German and me - Jewish. One day after practice all of us were hanging around in the locker room when the Polish center pulled me aside and said, “You know, you’re the only Jew I know that I like.”
I admit that my initial reaction was how insulting his comment was - but I also realized what he was saying. “In spite of being Jewish, I think you’re a good guy.” Rather than being becoming indignant or even getting upset, I realized he was paying me a compliment. He was saying he liked me - and that’s how I took it. Was his remark ignorant? Sure. Offensive? Duh. Did I know what would have happened if I’d have tuned him into our administration - even 47 years ago? Yeah, especially if I told our football coach, who was Jewish.
Obviously, it made an impact on me in that it happened so long ago and I still vividly remember it. Yet, to this day, I think I handled it as I should have. What he said spoke volumes about both of us. And it’s the same with Jay Williams and his idiot.
Maybe he had more encounters with racism than I had with anti-Semitism. There are enough really bad examples, maybe turning the other cheek (so the person you’re with doesn’t see your look of disgust - or see you laughing out of pity for the ignorance) is a wise strategy. The quote that makes sense to me is:
“Stupidity is infinitely more difficult to defeat than racism is.”
Jeneba Tarmoh came in third in the women’s 100m finals, earning her a spot on the USA squad for the upcoming London Olympics. She was told she’d finished third (fourth would not have been good enough). Tarmoh took a victory lap. She was presented with her bronze medal on the victory stand.
It was then that track officials told her that, after further review, there was actually a tie for third between her and her training partner, Allyson Felix. So the race wasn’t over. It needed to be run again. Or the two ladies could let a coin decide which one competed in the 100m in London. Really. A coin flip was an option.
Olympic officials were stymied. No other alternatives were possible. It was a dead heat. It was probably at about that time something in Jeneba Tarmoh died as well. Her spirit to compete. She pulled out of yesterday’s scheduled run-off. She probably found it too difficult to summon up all that it would have taken to run in a two-women race. Instead, she conceded the spot to Felix. Felix could have handed the spot to Tarmoh but chose not to. Her statement was she’d prepared to compete in the 100m and 200m races. That’s her decision and Tarmoh’s is hers.
We, as fans, have demanded replay. We stand by the results they produce. Even when the replay shows the initial call was wrong. Heck, especially when the call is wrong. The public is clamoring for major league baseball to increase its usage of the replay. Some thought it would have been a good idea to use replay for the judges in the Pacquiao-Bradley fight. In this case, however, replay might have let us down.
Many will say that a real athlete, a true competitor, would have welcomed a run-off. Have the stage entirely to herself (and Felix). I have a different take on the situation. The Olympics is a once-in-four-year event. The emotional toll the training takes on an athlete must be extraordinary. To achieve your goal is the ultimate. To be asked to “do it again” might just be too much.
Jeneba Tarmoh was on top of the world one minute (actually 11 seconds) and then the rug was pulled out from under her the next. She’d already run six rounds of 100m and 200m. Yet, if it’s so difficult a challenge, why would Allyson Felix agree to race again? Mainly because it’s “found money” for her. The initial race results had her in fourth place; she basically has nothing to lose.
As with most sports’ arguments, there’s seldom a clear right and wrong. Maybe Jeneba Tarmoh can find solace in Helen Keller’s quote:
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Having to deal with a family emergency. This blog will return in about a week.
Today is being spent at Stanford Pain Management undergoing a procedure that is supposed to decrease my back pain.
Barring any complications, the blog will continue Wednesday.
Suspend blogging until you’re better.
See you Saturday, 2/12.
In Friday’s blog, I failed to mention I was headed “up north” to watch our younger son, Alex, compete for Buchanan High School in DeLaSalle’s prestigious Chris Vonture Basketball Tournament in Concord. While I’m out of town I don’t blog and usually start the post of the day I’m leaving by informing the readers that the blogs will continue when I return.
The blogs will continue tomorrow. Sorry for the oversight.